TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Win95 Help vs WinHelp From:"Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- STARBASECORP -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 3 Aug 1995 10:58:04 -0700
Mike Starr wonders...
> I understand that there are quite a few changes to Windows Help in Windows
> 95, but I have not yet had a chance to investigate. Imagine my dismay when
> the boss asked me about it yesterday and suggested that we should look into
> it. So, I said "Yassuh" and resolved to ask my friends out there in the
> What are the differences? What do I need to know? How can it help me give
> our customers better documentation?
Major difference #1 -- context sensitive help is no longer
provided for the entire dialog box in a single help topic.
Rather, help for each individual control is created as a pop-up
and attached to the control itself. The user can then either
set focus to the control and hit F1 or click the right mouse
button, select "What is it" from the menu, and click the control
in question. I believe there's also a help button, click it
and you get a ?+arrow cursor to click individual controls with.
Our developers, however, are having a miserable time trying to
get the pop-ups hooked up because MS hasn't made VC++ compatible
with Help 4.0 yet.
Major difference #2 -- if you create a .cnt file to go with your
help file, you can get an expandable toc complete with little
book icons that open when you click on them.
Major difference #3 -- a two-level index topic replaces the
Major difference #4 -- either you or the end-user can generate
a database-type file that's used to provide full-text search
Major difference #5 -- you can specify the window in which a
help topic appears within the topic definition, so you don't
have to manipulate the jumps to get the topic into a secondary
Major difference #6 -- secondary windows can automatically
resize vertically so they exactly fit your topic.
Major difference #7 -- you can create shortcut buttons to
position the user in the dialog at which the procedure
starts, eliminating the navigational instructions at the
beginning of the topic.
Major difference #8 -- fewer help buttons in the dialogs --
those that are left can jump to conceptual info.
Major difference #9 -- you can have up to 9 individual
help windows open at the same time (from the same help
#10 -- MS goes minimalist! Usability studies indicated that
users were hesitant to read procedural topics longer than
about 4 steps, so MS responded by eliminating intro material
and redundant or obvious steps (like the infamous "Click OK").
That's pretty much all I can think of off the top of my head.
Hope this helps.
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com